GREAT MERCY CULTIVATES REJOICING
WHOSE HAND IS WITH US
SUNDAY MARCH 25, 2018
Scripture To Consider:
“Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father Zacharias. His mother answered and said, ‘No; he shall be called John.’”
“But they said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.’ So they made signs to his father, what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, ‘His name is John.’ So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, ‘What kind of child will this be?’ And the hand of the Lord was with him.” Luke 1.57-66
Something To Consider:
God’s great mercy should always cultivate much rejoicing in more than the recipients of that mercy. As was in the case of Elizabeth, as her neighbors and relatives rejoiced with her because of God’s great mercy to her. As in like manner, so should God’s showing mercy to His children be wonderful in our eyes and in the eyes of others, causing all to rejoice. As leaders and leaders in training we should be ready at every corner turned, to rejoice in the blessings of the Lord for ourselves and for others. God’s great mercy is all around us. Therefore, we should take advantage of any opportunity to rejoice.
Paul, in Romans 12, beginning in verse 10, describes to all who have ears to hear, some Christian character traits. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor [hate] what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, giving to hospitality.”
In verse 15 of Romans chapter 12 Paul again instructs God’s people to rejoice, by stating, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil.” And Paul closes out his Christian character lesson with these words, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Something Else To Consider:
On the eighth day after the birth of John the Baptist a controversy arose. Those on the peripheral edge of what God was doing were attempting to cling to tradition over the Word of God in the naming of this new born child. They were quite insistent that his name was to be Zacharias though the previously revealed Word and will of God was that his name was to be John. But Elizabeth, though well advanced in years, declared boldly, “No; he shall be called John.” Sometimes we must come out of our comfort zones and declare what the Word of God proclaims when others are in opposition either knowingly or unknowingly.
Zacharias had silently grown in his faith and therefore reported, “His name is John.” Notice that Zacharias did not say his name shall be John. But rather, his name is John. To Zacharias, his son’s name had been John for at least nine months, or ever since the angel Gabriel had informed Zacharias of the surprising and seemingly miraculous news of the birth of a son in their old age.
Zacharias appears to have become a true believer now, and in his believing he had been set free from the bondage of his unbelief. Be ready to rejoice! Be ready to be set free! Be ready for the hand of the Lord to bring the birthing of new life, new passion, and new purpose into our lives through believing in the precious promises of God’s Word. Be ready for great mercy to produce rejoicing!
The name John in Hebrew is Jehohanan, meaning favored by Jehovah. His name was proven to be faithfully fitting of John the Baptist, for the hand of the Lord and His favor was indeed with him. Oh, that the hand of the Lord and the favor of the Lord would be and remain with us!
Therefore, let us always be ready to rejoice and ready to be set free of whatever bondage or discontentment may have attached itself to us. Let us be ready for the hand of the Lord and the Lord’s favor to be evidenced in and through our lives as leaders and leaders in training. Let us be forever ready to rejoice in the Lord and His great mercy which should always cultivate rejoicing!
Something More To Consider:
Paul also instructed all true born again believers in 1 Corinthians 12.26-27, by pronouncing, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” Whether we feel like members at times or not, the Word of God declares that we are members of the body of Christ.
Therefore, are we praying for divine guidance as to our role and spiritual function within the body of Christ? If so, in time God will reveal our personal position in the advancing cause of His kingdom.
We spoke in an earlier lesson of the Lord’s hand being with Joseph of old in Genesis 39. In 1 Samuel 16.18 we are told of David, a man after God’s own heart, and of the hand of the Lord being with David. A servant of King Saul so described David by saying, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing [a stringed instrument], a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him.”
Can the same be said of us? Are we skillful in whatever we do through the persistent practice of that skill or God given gift or ability? Are we spiritually men and women of valor, and yet prudent in speech? Is the Lord present tense with us in all that we attempt to do and to say? Is the hand of the Lord with us, or are we being directed by another much more devious and or fleshly influence? Let us be careful in our answering too quickly!
A Few Final Words:
Is the ever-directing divine hand of the Lord with us at work, at home, and in our however seemingly mundane life we may think we live? David was a man who second guessed God’s plan for his life. He, like us, did not always do the right or most godly thing. John the Baptist may not have always been at all times an exemplary ambassador of the kingdom of heaven, but we do know the hand of the Lord was with him to convict, to convince, and to comfort. And the same is true in our own lives as the hand of the Lord is with us even unto the end of the age, according to Jesus!
In Revelation 2.17, Jesus declared, “He [or she] who has an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him [or her] who overcomes [endures to the end] I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him [or her] a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him [or her] who receives it.”
David may not have felt like a mighty man of valor when he was being described as such to King Saul by a faithful servant. We too may not feel as though the Lord is even aware of us at times. But so much is waiting for the faithful enduring to the end overcoming saints of the Most High God as we draw nearer to the end of this age, and nearer to our promised salvation!
We must desire to become and remain overcomers in the eyes of the Lord. We must become people who understand that having the hand of the Lord and the favor of the Lord with us in our everyday lives, no matter how boring or insignificant we may feel, creates more than enough grace to be sufficient for us to overcome. All leaders and leaders in training are being led or directed by the guiding hand of someone else, consciously or unconsciously.
Therefore, whose hand is it that is with us and leading us? If we were wise we would allow the Word of God and especially the Words of Jesus to be leading us and directing our thoughts and actions on a daily basis. Therefore, “Rejoice in the Lord. And again I say rejoice!”
Our Father in heaven, may Your hand of great mercy be upon our lives all the days of our lives as we desire to endure to the end. In Him Always, Amen!